Infernal Hope – A Haibun

The new year begins in the darkness of winter. We try to light it up with fireworks and cheers, loud illusions of summer happiness in the frosty night air.

Yet there is no inferno that can thaw the the frozen fear of what this new year, this new decade will bring. The crackle of global warming stabbing glaciers into rising oceans while lighting never ending fires. The heated breaths of chanting voices wanting to be heard or wanting to hear heads rolling. The red faced demands of hot-under-the-collar public servants who expect a tip for doing their job.

The twelve chimes of midnight mask my reddened eyes streaming with red-hot tears and the choked sobs of my frozen throat that cannot – can not – defrost despite the promise of new beginnings. The illusion of a friendly inferno only works until you catch on fire. Still, I walk towards that new morning sun.

Winter’s cold ignites
The need for new illusions
Hope can’t wait for Spring

Hello! Happy New Year! This is my first post of 2020 and it’s a triple play! Ok, so one prompt is a missed one from last week (Sorry, Patrick! I was away and missed the deadline but I’m still on a streak!) but the rest are current. I am especially excited about the picture prompt (above) from Sadje who has taken up the “What do you see?” Challenge from Hélène who passed away last year.

Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #213 – Illusions and #214 – Inferno came together with Björn’s first dVerse haibun prompt of the year – beginnings to express my feelings about the start of this new year. Sadje’s picture was the cherry on top of this trifecta of prompts.

Beginnings are usually hopeful events however the news of the last few weeks have been anything but hopeful. This is an election year in the USA and I can already feel the tension and am bracing myself for disappointment. Why? Because people nowadays seem to thrive on fear, not hope. Maybe like in Star Wars Episode VIII, we are looking for the one person (or thing or event) to bring us hope. I think, though, that we have to look to ourselves for hope – to be the hope and even to share that with others.

©️ 2020 iido

Aftermath of Silence – A Quadrille

I turned away, jaw clenched,

Breath held, yet still seeing

The crushed spirit within her

Earth brown eyes that had

Pleaded for me to do

The thing I feared the

Most – to speak up for her

And tell him to leave

Her the fuck alone

Sometimes I write the poem and sometimes it writes itself. This one was the latter. I started it as a poem about the environment then it took a different turn. You arm chair psychologists can let me know what that means!

This quadrille incorporates De Jackson’s d’verse quadrille prompt #93 – spirit and also Kate’s Friday Fun prompt – Aftermath.

©️ iido 2019

Gratitude Gestures – A Haibun

In the chilly autumn evening, deep contented sighs battle with the hum of heated air wafting from the grate. The food has disappeared but the smell of fullness lingers: the tart scent of oranges in the cranberry sauce, the savory thyme lining the turkey’s moist cavity, the sweet butter hiding in the mashed potatoes.

Unsaid words also hide in the small gestures of family. “I love you” is plated with each dish on the table. “Take care of yourself” is served with second helpings. All desserts come with a side of “glad you decided to spend this holiday with us this year”. “Thank you’s” are coded in each utensil that is washed.

Gratitude gestures

With knives and forks and drink toasts

Autumn’s chill dissolves

I’m coming out of my food coma and wrote this haibun for Frank Tassone’s gratitude themed Haibun Monday at d’Verse and Go Dog Go’s Tuesday writing prompt themed “Thanksgiving”.

We had a traditional American Thanksgiving meal at my in-laws. I was looking forward to Thanksgiving with a Vietnamese twist however there was no turkey pho or banh mi with cranberry relish. The food was still delicious and watching the cousins play together made the occasion even more special.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year – for not only my family (immediate and extended) but also for the family of friends I have been blessed with here on WP, as well as, in real life, at school, church and my running group. The saying “many hands make light work” come to mind in terms of the many hands that touch my life and make light work of and support the improvements I need to do to become a better version of myself.

As this holiday season gets underway, I hope we all get a chance to pause and appreciate the people, things and activities that bring joy to our lives.

©️ iido 2019

The Maple at the End of My Street – A Quadrille

The setting sun filters

Through your leaves

Highlighting the new

Yellows and oranges and reds

I see you

When I return home

After I’ve gone

Through the motions

That life is ok

Even when it’s not

You filter the beauty

Back in my life

Joining in the fun this week with this 44 word poem for Merril at dVerse, Quadrille #89 – Are You Set. It was also inspired by Jamie Dedes’ wonderful Wednesday Writing Prompt to “moments and places where we enjoy the beauty and peace of nature and a deeply sensed connection with the source of our being”. You can read other responses to this prompt here. (Note: The poem above is an revised version from my original submission to The Poet by Day.)

I love sunset more than sunrise. Maybe it’s because I am inherently a night owl. It just seems so peaceful! I especially like seeing sunsets while I’m driving the car, with my kids quiet in the back – usually after a long afternoon of after school activities. My 6 year old son usually says, “Mom, look at the sunset! Take a picture! It’s so pretty!” I usually respond, “I can’t, I’m driving. Take a picture with your mind.”

©️ iido 2019

What’s for Dinner? – A Metaphorical Poem

My body flops – fettuccine flat,

Limp from being over-cooked

In this marinade of

Too little thyme

Too much OregaYes

A large pinch from Rosemary’s Baby

I’m in hot water

Simmering

Waiting for the main ingredient

That chunk of meat

That should taste so good

Yet now is dead weight

The carcass of my life

Boiling over

Still, I have room for dessert

Hello! Hello! It’s been a while…I’ve been…”cooking”…the picture above is my version of Filipino Pancit Canton. My mom gave me a recipe but, like in life, I didn’t follow her directions exactly.

    I used the the noodles that were available in the (non-Asian) market by my house (since I wasn’t able to go to the Asian market – these weren’t the correct type of noodle but it tasted fine).
    I used leftover char sui (or red meat) as my kids like to call it) instead of chicken, although I did end up buying a rotisserie chicken to add for lunch the next day since we ran out of char sui.
    I used bok choy (instead of shredded cabbage) since a friend had given me a bunch from her CSA box that she didn’t know what to do this (I was surprised they even grew that around these parts!).

The improvised dish was a hit! Which was wonderful considering what a difficult week my kids and I have had. This weekend was the first time in the past few weeks where I felt I had enough time and enough head space to do some writing!

Coincidentally, this poem’s conception was parallel to Bjorn’s prompt at dVerse to write a metaphoric poem. Mr. Linky is closed but I think this poem still counts!

Here’s to a new week and being the cook instead of the meal!

©️ iido 2019

Forty-four Words are Not Enough – A Quadrille

In the nick of time

My motto, my nemesis

My days overfilled with

Kids needing

Husband wanting

Daughterly obligations

School “volunteering”

Catholic guilt

Running miles – Ha! No

Running behind – yes

Secretary, chef, driver

Driving myself crazy

Oh look something else to sign up for!

This quadrille responds to De Jackson’s (WhimsyGizmo) quadrille prompt #87 – Nick and Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to write about my life and the things/events that make an impression on me.

Well, if you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know my poetry and prose usually revolve around my identities as a mother and runner. This quadrille is no exception!

The school year has started for all my kids, even my preschooler is in three day PreK. Yet despite having three days “all by myself,” I find myself still running out of time, running late, running from appointment to appointment. I’ve signed up to help out at their school and at our church while training for a race, writing and keeping up with household duties. This might not be a lot for other people, but it’s a lot for me. I’ve been thinking about going back to work outside the home but where would I fit that in? That “nick” of time is not truly enough.

©️ iido 2019

Salt of the City – A Haibun

They were mostly tall, thin, and dark skinned like the softest black velvet. Their clothes hung on them. Their feet in flip-flops covered with dust. Yet their voices were strong, offering their wares in accented English – mini Eiffel towers, larger Eiffel towers, ones that light up as if it were covered with fireflies, ones that were staid. Their bodies seemed strong, carrying large sacks of these trinkets to different parts of the park. The odor of their sweat was strong, evidence of their hard work in the heat.

They stood out among the tourists – they were there working, laboring under the sun – while we were there for fun, our choice to stand in lines under the sun.

Maybe they arrived in this city with a degree or some other skills; definitely they arrived with hope. Yet their labor in the City of Lights seemed to diminish the light in their own eyes.

Summer’s salty sweat

Seasons the immigrant’s work

Hope masks bitterness

This haibun was inspired by two prompts: Frank at D’Verse for Haibun Monday requested a Haibun inspired by labor, workers in honor of Labor Day and Jamie at The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt requested poems inspired by a city. (Responses to Jamie’s Prompt can be found here.)

When we visited Paris this summer, I was surprised by how much the area around the Eiffel Tower has changed. The area was surrounded by a see-through barrier. You had to go through security before you could even get close to the tower. This was much different than when I visited the tower in early 2001.

I also noticed the men (they were all men) who were clearly immigrants to Paris selling souvenirs. I don’t remember them on my last trip there. But it made me wonder about them, their stories, if they were selling souvenirs of their own accord, if they had families, if they had ever gone up to the top of the tower they were selling miniatures of.

I always wonder if workers who sell from blankets on street corners might be trafficking victims and that by buying these wares, I am complicit in this modern day slavery. I know these men were working hard – it was evident in their hands and feet, their eyes. When is this type of labor honored?

©️ iido 2019